Whitford is a village lying between Prestatyn and Holywell in the county of Flintshire, North Wales. The village is set in an historic landscape between Offa's Dyke to the east and the Greenfield Valley Heritage Park to the west.
The Maen Achwyfan Cross, a richly decorated late tenth-century stone cross, lies in a field a mile to the west, and ancient forts and Neolithic monuments are to be found on the Clwydian Hills nearby.
Walkers and indeed cyclists will appreciate the countryside around Whitford with several trails including the All Wales Coastal Path, the North Wales Cycle Trail, the Clwydian Way and last but not least the Offa's Dyke Path being within a few short miles of the village.
Whitford church, the Church of St Mary and St Beuno, is believed to have been founded by St Beuno in the 7th Century, and first appears in the written record as 'Widford' in Domesday Book in 1086. Possibly the church was dedicated to St Beuno initially, but sometime after the Norman Conquest it was re-dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It has also been suggested that the first stone church on the site probably dated from the 11th Century.
Nothing of the early church survives however, and the earliest surviving architectural details are from the 15th or 16th Century, with parts of the north aisle, its arched-braced roof and arcade.
The village is most famous as the home of Thomas Pennant the 18th Century writer, traveller and naturalist, who wrote numerous books
about zoology and his tours of Wales and the rest of the world. A monument to Pennant can be found within St Mary's Church.
The Pennants were a Welsh gentry family who had built up a modest estate at Bychton by the seventeenth century. In 1724 Thomas'
father, David Pennant inherited his cousin's estate which included Downing Hall, just a short walk from the centre of the village of
Thomas Pennant was born on the 14th June 1726 and he lived all his life at Downing Hall. Sadly, the house was burnt down in 1922 and
remained a ruined shell until being finally demolished some years ago.
The Thomas Pennant Society, a local group, are determined to bring his life and work to the attention of wider society and are
planning a festival in his honour.
In 2011 society member Paul Brighton said: “We plan to hold a big concert in Whitford Church on Saturday, June 16, 2012, where we will have choirs and musicians performing.
Society chairman Norman Closs-Parry added: “This is an exciting project and we are very enthusiastic to see it come to fruition. But
it will involve a great deal of planning and preparation, fundraising and commitment from our society. But we are determined to succeed and to make a contribution to our community and to the memory and promotion of Thomas Pennant and Pennant Country.”
Thomas Pennant Society
Church of St Mary Whitford